Moving to a new place is hard. You leave your community, your family, behind; your apartment is dusty, and the heat is oppressive. But you get to know your roommates, you sweep the floor, and slowly it starts to feel like home.
The ache in your heart never seems to disappear, but you scrounge together the ingredients you have — a box of vegetables you ordered online, too ugly to be sold at a market but perfectly good inside. Onions. Garlic. Carrots. Green beans.
You brought pieces of home with you: rice, which you put on the steamer, and a packet of Japanese curry — it was your dad’s signature dish. He made it every family gathering, every time you came home from college, and just any time you ever asked.
It takes you almost two hours to finish. You salted too late, you’re missing the chicken, and you forgot that vegetables have water in them. The sun has long set by the time you fill your bowl, but you know it was exactly the right dish to make.
You’ve forgotten why your heart hurts so much, but it only takes one taste to remind you. Your eyes unexpectedly sting with tears, and you cry for the first time in a long while. Because you did it all on your own, and so long as you have the arms to cook, and the mouth to eat, you carry your father with you.
Because when you eat, you live. But more than that: so does he.